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back to article Gaping 'open data' loophole could leave your privates on display

The government has just published its ideas for allowing general access to data, which includes the intention to grant individuals online access to their own personal data. In general, I support this measure but sadly, the Open Data White Paper (PDF) has not even considered that it has widened the privacy problems associated …

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fnaar fnarr

Gaping. Hole. Privates.

Was someone reading the VIZ yesterday evening.

Brighter up my tram Ride. Lol.

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How can something so obviously intentional be called a loophole ?

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Big Brother

Because... Just because.

Loopholes, bugs, administrative oversights, civilian deaths, etc. can never _ever_ possibly be at all intentional.

Have I made myself clear?

[/me is slowly slapping a Ministry of Truth baton in his palm with a fixed icy stare]

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Re: Because... Just because.

Yes, completely right there, Mr. Inmate. A huge proportion of MPs are lawyers, and all laws are drafted with the help of lawyers, quite possibly 'on loan' from interested parties, who indeed sometimes write sections of the law 'wholesale'.

Loopholes and ambiguities in laws are purposely baked in, in fact the more complicated the law the better for ambiguities and loopholes. That's why laws have become longer and longer and more and more convoluted - the idea is that a layman can not properly understand them (and indeed this has been so successful that nowadays even highly skilled and trained lawyers struggle to understand the law).

All laws should be comprehensible to a 15-year-old of average intelligence

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Re: Because... @James

I'm reminded of a Mark Thomas Radio 4 show The People's Manifesto.* I recall a suggestion, submitted by a lawyer, that all laws should be replaced by just one: "Play nicely with the other children."

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Thomas_Presents_The_People%27s_Manifesto

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In government speak, loophole means one of two things:

* We just found a way to get more tax out of people,

* We got caught inserting clauses that let us dick around without oversight

Closing the former can be spun as sticking it to the rich fat cats, when it normally results in low-to-medium income workers getting stuffed.

The latter can be dealt with by inserting more "loopholes" in the legislation used to close the existing "loophole", providing justification for all those existing civil service jobs and a reason to make a new quango.

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Megaphone

Re: Because... Just because.

Conspiracy v cockup

Me I go for the latter and think that modern laws are mostly so crap because the people writing them are a bunch of drunken fuckwits and the baked in compromises and ambiguities are there so that everyone can claim victory.

Result is the same - big lawyerized corp still gets to do what it wants cos it can afford to go legal on you - you will give up before the result 99% of the time.

Police/govt interpret laws any way they want and when they are told to stop storing that illegally retained DNA their answer is "make me".

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Shame

Section 56 starts out looking quite good (even taking care of the issue previously discussed wrt employer access to Facebook accounts), then it's blown by the addition of text to limit the circumstances.

I agree with others - this isn't a loophole but a deliberate weakening of what would otherwise have been a simple but very effective part of the legislation.

We need a clear statement in an Act that it is an offence to coerce someone (other than as provided for by criminal law) to reveal private information. It never really mattered pre-internet, but there is far, far more at stake now.

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Stop

Re: Shame

I can think of one situation that doesn't involve the internet and would probably need particular wording or certain organisations would complain about the status quo being affected: currently, vehicle insurance companies insist that before they give you your settlement, they get you to participate in a conference call with the DVLA to obtain details of any previous vehicular convictions.

What I'm saying is that if there was a clear statement in the Act that it is an offence to coerce someone to reveal private information, the insurance companies would kick up a stink.

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Re: Shame

Didn't know about that one. I expect there are others as well.

My view is 'f*-em'. We can clear up a lot of problems if the government has the good sense to realise that a simple, but fundamental, principle enshrined in law would solve a multitude of issues - not just those obvious now but also those which will arise in the future.

In the case you put forward I would argue that the insurance companies do have legal redress if a person has lied about their record (fraud presumably). It may not be ideal for them, but the benefit to society far outweighs that.

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"I wonder whether you would allow us to look at your last five GP visits"

Response : I wonder what my last medical visits have to do with my being co-operative or not. I wonder why I should unveil my private life to a future business relationship that has no moral or legal authority to invade my private life in this way. I wonder if this "sharing" thing is going to stop short of "friendly" cavity searches. By the way, are you going to "share" your salary, your wife and your car with me ? Or is this "sharing" thing only one way ? It is ? Thought so. Well thank you and have a nice day.

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Re: "I wonder whether you would allow us to look at your last five GP visits"

"Or is this "sharing" thing only one way ?"

No, of course it's not one way. If you share your stuff, then we will consider giving you a job in our organisation and share some of our money with you on a monthly basis. That's the deal on offer. If you don't want to do business that's just fine, the door is over there. Oh, on your way out, could you ask the next candidate to come in please.

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Re: "I wonder whether you would allow us to look at your last five GP visits"

The answer would be "No, because I take data security seriously...an attribute I'm sure would be an asset in employees of your company". It's politer than "Fuck off", anyway.

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Re: "I wonder whether you would allow us to look at your last five GP visits"

I'd tell them to just go fuck themselves - it's not like you're ever going to work for a company that does that.

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Anonymous Coward

Interviewer: ”Hello Anonymous Coward. Thanks for coming for an interview. Before we start, you have access to your medical records online. As you know, we want to make sure that you have all the hallmarks of a co-operative employee. I wonder whether you would allow us to look at your last five GP visits.”

Anonymous Coward: "You can go and fuck yourself."

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Now, that WOULD be a proper response.

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Joke

Sounds familiar...

...That's where I remember this from! Something very similar to this was in Yes Minister!

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Re: Sounds familiar...

Ah yes, I remember that ground-breaking documentary, it was rather enlightening.

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Pirate

Yes, certainly, I'll co-operate...

... and since co-operation is a two-way street, I'm sure that you will allow me access to details of the Company Directors Remuneration and Bonus packages and details of any and all share options that they've been allocated...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yes, certainly, I'll co-operate...

Are you? Well, you'd be wrong about that.....NEXT!

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Re: Yes, certainly, I'll co-operate...

Certainly, as long as it's a publicly limited company all of that information will be in the annual report and accounts.

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"this information is not copied from your files to ours"

Wot - no cache?

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It's company kit. They wouldn't be doing their jobs properly if there wasn't a keylogger installed on the interview room machine.

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Pirate

head storage

They may not be copying the data but someone who reads it will have a copy in their head and could do what they wanted with it, eg save the details to file, write them down or pass them on to someone else. Just a thought...

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Cuts both ways

"Hello David. Thanks for inviting me to this job interview. Before we start, you have access to your company's financial records online. As you know, I want to make sure that you have all the hallmarks of a cooperative employer. I wonder whether you would allow me to look at your company's last 6 months of bank statements..."

No? Didn't think so.

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Anonymous Coward

Medical records available by a secure portal?

By the end of this parliament?

Has this proposal been costed? I love it when Ministers get bright ideas.

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Black Helicopters

Security wins

A good security system for sensitive data will have "3 wrong passwords and itr's locked". If you suspect you are going to be asked for this, before you go try and log in twice - hten you can just have a slip of the fingers and you can't get in.

Make up a false Facebook identity and load it with a carefully calculated set of data, with just the odd slightly embarrassing item.

"Blimey, I haven't been to the doctors for years, I've no idea how to log on"

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